SpokenWord starts on Monday 2nd September. AWOL writers’ workshop running every Sunday.

The AWOL writers’ workshop has moved to the Chat Noir. This info last updated August 31st 2019. 

SpokenWord Paris is one pole of a nomadic tribe of people who love poetry, writing and song. A home for creatives and lost anglophones. We do an open mic night called SpokenWord every Monday at the Chat Noir and an allied writers’ workshop every Sunday. We do a literary journal called The Bastille and Tightrope Books published many of us in the book “Strangers in Paris.” Click on the blue stamp on the right to sign up to the mailing list.

Open mic/scène ouverte: Performance poetry. Lire vivant. Poésie sonore. Stand up. Monologue. Stories. Beat poetry. Spoken word. English. Français. Your own original texts. Old texts from Rimbaud to Dr Seuss, Beowulf to Gil Scott-Heron. Chacun a son mot à dire. Make the words come alive. Acoustic songs also welcome.

Poetry video clips on our instagram at spokenword_paris

SpokenWord Sounds
A taste of Monday nights at the Chat Noir, by Victor. Listen or download here.

Every Monday except August. Come to the Chat Noir, 76 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud 75011. Métro Parmentier/Couronnes. Sign up at 8pm in the bar. Poetics start from 8.30pm underground. More info here. Paris’ biggest and longest-running English open mic night, started in 2006. All languages welcome. Free entry. Exit one euro.

Check next week’s theme here. Themes are a suggestion to inspire you but you don’t have to follow them. Indeed, many people don’t.

AWOL writers’ workshop
AWOL has moved to the Chat Noir for the summer. 76 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 75011. Sunday evenings, usually 6.30pm – 8.30pm. Time sometimes varies so check AWOL’s facebook page. Free. Bring your writing or just come and listen and join in the discussion. Hosted by Bruce Sherfield, Simon Millward, Thibaut Narme and Camille Adnot. Friendly and insightful and afterwards you’re welcome to come for a drink. In a previous incarnation this ran for 10 years as The Other Writers Group and AWOL continues that group’s ethos of giving invaluable insightful feedback and providing a supportive space to hone your writing craft. Plus community among writers. Click here for a more detailed description.

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Jamika Ajalon to Guest at SpokenWord Paris September 16th–Monday’s Theme: Taking it Back

tbtnpromophotoB&Wjuly (1)Author / wordist and inter-disciplinary artist, Jamika Ajalon works with different mediums independently, but also in  multiple  fusions- incorporating written and spoken text, sound/music, and visuals.   Her poems, stories and essays have been published in various digital and hard copy publications internationally.  She is a columnist for Itchy Silk magazine  (“queer plume: the fugitive diaries”), co conspirator at lpressl.com,  guest lecturer , (including Vienna Arts Academy, and American University Paris),vocalist, writer/ musician, (Zenzile/Jamika & the Argonauts).  She has performed her audio visual anti lectures /sonic slam, and exhibited widely, (including Rennes Biennale of contemporary art,(2018),DISTURBANCE expo Kunsthalle Leipzig,(2017),Beton Salon, Paris (2017).  She has a BA Film/Video, MA Communications in Culture and Society, Goldsmiths University,London.  Her book poetry “Take Back the Narrative” is now available for public consumption.

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Thibaut Narme to Guest at SpokenWord Paris September 9th–Monday’s Theme: Food

piwbioThibaut Narme was born in Courcouronnes, France and grew up in the urban sprawl of Dammarie-les-Lys on the outskirts of Paris. After getting his Bachelor in Economics from the Sorbonne University, he moved to Sweden, then onto Denmark, where he obtained his Master’s Degree.  He returned to France in 2014 and taught Economics and Management at the undergrad level. He first started writing poetry in French in high school before switching to English during his stay in Copenhagen. Thibaut has been part of the Paris Anglophone scene since 2015, when he frequented SpokenWord and the Other Writers’ Workshop. He has been co-hosting its successor – the AWOL writing workshop – since 2017. He released his debut poetry e-collection in 2016 and is getting ready to release his second, titled Hamburger Redd Bull, this September.

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TRANS-EUROPE EXPRESSION: Win a trip to Manchester to compete for £500

90-second slam competition

Paris heat – 23rd September at SpokenWord

Practice – round 2 at SpokenWord on 9th and 16th September

INFO & RULES for the 23rd September heat


  • 3 rounds with up to 15 contestants – 12 is probably ideal
  • 90 seconds on the mic each round
  • The contestants with the 3 highest aggregate scores go through to the final


In the event that there are more than 3 contestants that qualify though their aggregate scores, the lowest of these qualifying scores will be subject to a tiebreak. This will be decided by a playoff, with the highest score in the playoff going through.

E.g. the highest scores are 100, 92, 88 and 88. 100 and 92 immediately qualify, who goes through from the two contestants with a score of 88 will be decided by a playoff.


Judging is by a panel of judges chosen from the audience. There must be a minimum of 4 judges, and a maximum of 7. The judges should not be friends or relatives of any of the contestants.


Scoring is out of 10 and should take into account both performance and content. An example as a rough guide:  a contestant performs exceptionally well, their piece is humorous but essentially trivial, they should expect a score of around 6 or 7.


  • Contestants must only perform their own, original work
  • No singing or use of props
  • No deliberately sexist, racist, disablist or homophobic language
  • Each contestant has 90 seconds on the mic for each round.
  • The clock starts from the moment the contestant speaks. (Contestants need to be reminded of this, to avoid introductions, etc.)
  • Per round, 1 point is deducted from each contestant’s score for every 3 seconds they go over time.
  • If a contestant completes a round within 1 second either side of the 90 seconds, they will be awarded 5 bonus points.
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Will Strangmeyer to Guest at SpokenWord Paris September 2nd–Monday’s Theme: Regret

24068273_159956174620991_7932180844709268514_nWilliam Walrond Strangmeyer was born in Roanoke, Virginia, and grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and Brofus, New Jersey, where he went to Rutgers University, starting out as a classics major, changing to musicology and finishing​with an abnormal psychology, all of which he declined to follow up or to​ practice. He has worked in many different fields of endeavor, including​ amusement parks, banks, book stores, cinema, door-to-door sales, restaurants,​ retail sales, taxi driving, telephone sales, warehouses, theater and as a tour guide​ and was also co-editor of Upstairs at Duroc, a literary review, blowing his​ chances at working-class hero status. A forty-two-year resident of Paris, he now​ earns his living as an English language trainer and translator.​ He is the author of several volumes of poetry (all slim), his other principal​interests being various forms of boxing, bull fighting and old music. He is​ Archon of Paris for the Moorish Orthodox Church and a member of various​ other organizations embracing a few essential beliefs and having even fewer​ doctrines.​ He has read all over Paris over the years and in NY and Florida.​ His main influences are science fiction, doo-wop music and a mis-spent youth,​along with the usual Eliot, Pound, Wallace Stevens, Poe, Catullus, Larkin, Elroy,​ Doctor Seuss, Beaudelaire and also Emmylou Harris, Roy Jones Jr., Leonard​ Cohen, Feodor Emilianenko, Bartok and Roy Orbison.​ His motto this year is, “Keep a straight face,” but sometimes he forgets.

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Diana Norma Szokolyai & Dennis Shafer to Guest at SpokenWord Paris July 22nd–Monday’s Theme: Spy

photo by Gil Selinger_with Diana NormaDiana Norma Szokolyai is an author, educator, interdisciplinary artist and artistic director. Her books are CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos & Sourcebook for Creative Writing(edited anthology), Parallel Sparrows(poetry + photography), Roses in the Snow (poetry + photography), and Blue Beard, Remixed (poetry + short story + art). Her poetry was shortlisted for the 2018 Bridport Prize and received honorable mention in the 87thAnnual Writer’s Digest Competition (2018). She also performs her poetry with music and her collaboration with Project 5 a.m., “Space Mothlight,” hit #16 on the Creative Commons Hot 100 list in 2015 and can be found in the curated WFMU Free Music Archive. She is Executive Artistic Director of Cambridge Writers’ Workshop, where she leads writing retreats, and Co-Director of Chagall Performance Art Collaborative. She holds an Ed. M in Arts in Education from Harvard University and an M.A. in French from the University of Connecticut.

Dennis Shafer is a saxophonist, director, and live-composer based in Boston and New York City.  His playing has been reviewed as “brilliant” by The Boston Globe, and he has engagements around the world soloist, educator, and live-composer. He conducts and directs Boston University Saxophone Ensemble, Chagall Performance Art Collaborative, and Brooklyn Soundpainting Ensemble. ChagallPAC produces work with poetry, music, visual art, and movement works each year. Dennis Shafer is composing work this year with dancers and sound-bath artists, producing and composing an album of sounds from singing bowls to accompany yoga classes and sound-bath meditations.

The Chagall Performance Art Collaborative (Chagall PAC) is a community of artists committed to collaborating across disciplines and exploring the ways we experience art. We believe art is never the same in any given moment, but rather evolving and continually being shaped by the imaginations of those who come into contact with it.  We create performances that involve audience participation and expand to the newest reaches of contemporary performance art.

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Skye Jackson to Guest at SpokenWord Paris July 15th–Monday’s Theme: Race

Skye JacksonSKYE JACKSON was born and raised in New Orleans. She holds an English degree from LSU and a degree in law from Mississippi College School of Law. She is currently an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop where she serves as Associate Poetry Editor of Bayou Magazine. Her work has appeared in the Delta Literary Journal and Thought Catalog. Her chapbook A Faster Grave is forthcoming in May 2019 from Antenna Press.

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AWOL writers’ workshop moves to the Chat Noir for the summer.

The time stays the same – every Sunday at 6.30pm-8.30pm. Running throughout the summer.

The Chat Noir is of course where we do SpokenWord on Mondays. It’s at 76 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 75011. Métro Parmentier (line 3) or Couronnes (line 2).

AWOL remains free and a fantastic place to get supportive, challenging feedback on your writing and hang out with other writers.

Hosts now include the poet Camille Adnot. Alternating with Thibaut Narme, Bruce Sherfield and Simon Millward.

Check it out.

David Barnes

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Ben Aleshire to Guest at SpokenWord Paris July 8th–Monday’s Theme: Summer

Benjamin Aleshire, poet for hireBENJAMIN ALESHIRE is based in New Orleans, and travels the world as a poet-for-hire, composing poems for strangers on a manual typewriter in the street. His work has appeared recently in Iowa Review, Boston Review, El Mundo (Spain), NEON (Germany), Havana Times (Cuba) and on SinoVision TV (China). His artist-book of visual poems, Currency, is now in its second edition, and he recently released an audio-chapbook of poems with sound collage. Ben serves as assistant poetry editor to the Green Mountains Review, and has received awards from the Vermont Arts Council, the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, and the University of New Orleans.


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Jack Cooper to Guest at SpokenWord Paris July 1st–Monday’s Theme: Frustration

Paris 21 January 2019 (2)John Jack Jackie (Edward) Cooper comes from New York. Currently alive and living in Paris, he has — not necessarily in the following order — been a puppet (entirely in self-defense), a sometime pauper, always wanted to be a pirate, been frequently a pawn (though, for the most part, unwillingly), abdicated even the thought of ever becoming king, and is now settled in the one constant role left to him and endured throughout — a poet. He is the creator of These Are Aphorithms (https://aphorithms.blogspot.com), author of Ten (Poets Wear Prada, 2012), Ten … More (Poets Wear Prada, 2016), and translator of Wax Women, with French texts of the original poems by Jean-Pierre Lemesle (International Art Office: Paris, 1985). His work has appeared widely, in print and online. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, he is editor and co-publisher of Poets Wear Prada, a small press based in Hoboken, New Jersey.


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Sophia Lucia to Guest at SpokenWord Paris June 24th–Monday’s Theme: Internet

IMG_1841Sophia Lucia is an artist from Chicago, IL, USA. She received a BA in Performing Arts at University of Illinois at Chicago and is currently studying théâtre at Cours Florent in Paris. Sophia has been writing ever since she was a child- poetry, short stories, songs, pros, etc. Throughout high school and University she worked (as a waitress, naturally, and,) as a stage actress, performing in classical and contemporary plays throughout Chicago. For the past couple years, she has been mostly interested in performing her own materials. Chiefly, she creates from her stream of consciousness. Making sense of it, or not. She believes that art is alive, and in turn, a performance can never arrive same way twice. It is a collaboration with the space, the audience, the ambiance, the day of the week, what she had for breakfast that morning… The culmination of her creations is entitled, Freak Show Cabaret! (w/ free samples). Next Monday, Sophia Lucia Presents: iNtErNeT – un petit goût du Freak Show Cabaret. For more details, please attend the party!  Everyone is always invited. #dontmissthismeal

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